Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will meet for the 59th time in the Roland Garros quarterfinals on Tuesday night. His biggest rival, Roger Federer, has been forced to skip the second Major of the season, missing all the action since Wimbledon following his third knee operation last summer.
Roger has only played six tournaments since the start of 2020, and one of them was at Roland Garros last year. After skipping almost all of 2020, Federer returned to action in Doha in March 2021. After beating Daniel Evans in a tight match, Roger wasted a match point against Nikoloz Basilahvili in the quarter-finals and took another break.
In May, Federer lost in the opening match in Geneva before reaching Roland Garros. Roger kicked off the Paris campaign with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 win over Denis Istomin in one hour and 33 minutes, in his first Major match in almost 500 days.
Playing sharp and aggressive tennis, the Swiss dropped 13 points on serve and kept the pressure on the other side to control the scoreboard. Federer converted five of 13 break chances and blasted over the finish line to post one of the fastest wins of his at Roland Garros.
In the second round, Roger defeated old rival Marin Cilic 6-2, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 in two hours and 35 minutes to reach the Round of 16. Federer got the tenth victory over Cilic in 11 meetings and the fifth in a row. He fired 16 aces and suffered three breaks from eight chances offered by Marin, while converting five chances on the return.
In the third match, Federer had to give his 120% to defeat Dominik Koepfer 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 in three hours and 35 minutes. The Swiss went ahead with a break late in the fourth set on an empty Philippe-Chatrier court.
Goran Ivanisevic speaks about Nole
Novak Djokovic has been tipped as the favorite for the upcoming Wimbledon Championships by his coach Goran Ivanisevic.
“Of course he can [recover quickly], and he does not have much of a choice, if we are being honest. He is the biggest favourite at Wimbledon, just like Rafa was here [in Paris]. Novak now needs to rest well and prepare for Wimbledon physically and mentally.
I am sure that he can do it and I think he will win Wimbledon, I have a good feeling about that. He needs to focus on grass now," Ivanisevic said. Djokovic's coach also believes it is imperative for the six-time Wimbledon champion to be mentally ready for the prestigious event.
“Most probably not. We will see [about his participation in warm-up tournaments], but now the key thing for him is to recover mentally. As I have said in the past, Novak is a genius with a different mindset than most of us.
Even though he needs less time than most to come back and to figure some things out, he still needs to do it. He has overcome tough losses in the past, and I am completely certain that he will be ready for Wimbledon,” Ivanisevic said.
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